Where the KBF Challenge Series is for the dreamers, the the Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series powered by Dakota Lithium Batteries is for the road dogs. One sometimes leads to the other, but the Trail Series anglers have a different look about them. They sleep in their trucks to save money. They cook their own food, too. They know America’s roads as well as they know its waters.
When they all converge on lakes like Wheeler and Guntersville for a big event, anything can happen. It’s a magical sight to behold, to watch the best of the best slug it out. For everyone who followed the KBF Trail Series Championship on Fishing Chaos, social media and the awards videos, it was a wild ride.
Like the road-weary anglers, the standings just never stopped moving. When the dust settled, one angler had a truckload of new hardware courtesy of Ketch Products, USA.
North Carolina angler Wyatt Hammond had a terrific year. He won a Realtree Fishing KBF Trail event at Chickamauga in June. He followed that by adding the TENvitational trophy and Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series Championship event trophies in Alabama this past week.
And because of the latter victory, Hammond also accomplished a first: he is the only Rogue Gear Company Rookie of the Year to also capture the Rogue Gear Company Angler of the Year title. Hammond’s four new trophies don’t add up to the miles he travelled or the limits of bass that he caught, but each one marks a mile on his road to victory.
Day One: October 19, 2023
Even before lines in, a major story line was that of California angler Rachel M. Uribe, who became the first woman angler to close out the regular season at the top of the KBF Trail Series standings. She would lead a stacked field of anglers that represented every corner of the country. Together, the Trail Series anglers would enjoy cool, breezy weather with some limited showers as the fall bite heated up in Alabama. While Uribe had a great season, her championship event did not go as she had hoped. It was true of others, as well.
And when an angler slips, there is another moving up in the standings. As a result, anglers who held spots in the low to high teens in the standings earned their way into Dee Zee KBF The TEN.
The morning started with West Virginia stalwart Jody Queen making his presence known on the leaderboards, as he quickly posted a pair of bass that put him in first place on the Realtree Fishing Trail Series Championship leaderboard. Queen would have a strong showing maintaining a presence at the top of the field all day long.
By 9:30 a.m. central time, Alex Miller led the field with 91.75” (followed by Kristine Fischer with 87.75”) on both the Trail Series and the Challenge Series leaderboards. Those leaderboards quickly read like a who’s who of kayak bass fishing: Jaxton Orr, Jimmy McClurkan, Rus Snyders, Garrett Wade, Eric Jackson, and more were making their cases.
Pennsylvania’s Lynn Yester also made a strong early case. Kayak bass fishing on the KBF Trail and Challenge Series since 2021, Yester refused to be intimidated by the veteran crowd, posting a strong bag that held in the top 10 through the mid-morning.
In the meantime, Wyatt Hammond was working the eel grass and hydrilla on Guntersville with a punching rig:
“I knew I was going to punch the entire event. That was the most weatherproof pattern. So I went out, ad fifteen minutes into day one, I lost a bite. And then another and another. I lost five before I finally landed one. It kept on like that until about 10:30, losing fish and then landing one.”
“I made a move to the inside of the grass line farther away from main channel, where it’s deeper. I caught three fish, one after another. The last fish I landed was a 20.75” in the late morning, but I thought I lost it. What happened is my line broke. When I went over to grab the line and get my rig back, I moved some grass I saw its mouth with my hook in it.”
While Hammond untangled his fish from the Guntersville grass, Rus Snyders made his presence felt. He stood atop the field of the Trail Series Championship with a five-fish limit of 94.5”. A Behind him were Josh Stewart, Alex Miller, Jody Queen and Mike Elsea.
Snyders needs no introduction. Kayak Bass Fishing was the first to profile Rus Snyders after he became the 2020 Kayak Bass Fishing Angler of the Year. Since then, his legend has only grown, and he is regularly mentioned among the best in the sport.
Snyders was one of the anglers who would benefit from anglers who would drop out of the top 10. Eric Nelson was another. He had come into the event in thirteenth place overall, and needed help for a top 10 finish. He got it, too, by having a strong day one that would continue through day two. As a result, several anglers like Nelson who were on the outside looking in would ultimately qualify for Dee Zee KBF The TEN.
Day Two: October 20, 2023
Wyatt Hammond won a Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series event on Lake Chickamauga in 2023. He split the weekend Ketch trophies with Jaxton Orr, and together they reminded veteran anglers that a new generation is rising in the sport. Hammond had finished strong on day one, but on Friday he would participate in a three-way battle for the ages. When it was over, his name was atop the automated Fishing Chaos leaderboard that updates the standings in the annual points races in each KBF series.
If you ever want to know your place in a Kayak Bass Fishing tournament series, go to the KBF home page on Fishing Chaos and click on “Series Standings.” It is fully automated, and live. It’s just one of the many features that makes Fishing Chaos convenient for anglers, tournament directors and fans of the sport.
If you clicked on the series standings at the end of Day One of the KBF Trail Series Championship, you would have noticed quite a few changes in the top 10, as some names fell out of the rankings, while others surged into them. For example, Alex Miller had first place in the Trail Series points race standings.
Click on either hyperlink now, and see where anglers stand. It’s an amazing feature, and friends and families of those anglers from around the country were following live leaderboards as well as points standings during the KBF Championships. It was not easy to keep track of the changes, but that was half the fun.
While Eric Jackson and Garrett Wade were having a heavyweight big bass showdown, Wyatt Hammond was making his case to become the Rogue Fishing Co KBF Angler of the Year. If the Challenge Series Leaderboard was a heavyweight fight, the Trail Series leaderboard was a free for all, like one of those wrestling rumbles of old. There, Kristine Fischer, Josh Stewart, Wyatt Hammond and others were all fighting for the top spot.
In the early going, Garrett Wade occupied first place, with Eric Jackson in second place. Hartman and Fischer had spots three and four, while Indiana angler Mike Elsea had fifth place. Overall, Wade, Jackson, Elsea and Fischer had the top four spots, with Jaxton Orr making a run in the late morning, too.
If you blinked, you missed a change. The automated Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series leaderboard on Fishing Chaos was earning its money.
Two blinks later, and Hammond, Wade and Jackson started taking turns atop the leaderboard. Wade was leading the Trail Series Day Two leaderboard in hour four with 92.25”, while Eric Jackson counter-punched and took the lead in hour five, climbing from a 90.5” to 93.25” and then to 95.5”. Hammond posted 94.75”, as did Wade, but Hammond owned the big fish tie-breaker.
It was an awesome display of bass fishing, and about as exciting as it gets.
Hammond described his day two in terms of adjustments he made to his day one approach:
“I was using a punch skirt on day one and I think it was fraying the line. I lost my first two bites on day two, but then I never lost another. At the end of the day, the bass were directly beneath the mat. I think they moved up because it was warmer, but they had my lure after it sank two inches. I was fishing the same area, and after I had my limit I started over at the beginning and worked my way down. That’s where I caught a 20” and 21”.
Now, if you were watching the automated Angler of the Year standings, you knew that Hammond was moving up in the Trail Series standings – to first place overall. The Trail Series Champion does not necessarily get into Dee Zee KBF The TEN – but the Angler of the Year does. Not only would Hammond win a trophy for Angler of the Year, he would also fish another day with The TEN.
He also won the TENvitational. In doing so, he blocked other anglers who tried to punch a ticket for Saturday. He played offense, as well as defense.
In the end, Wyatt Hammond posted the biggest two-day bag of Championship week. H eposted a total of 184.5” for the Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series Championship powered by Dakota Lithium. With it he beat Garrett Wade by 1.25” to win the both the KBF Trail Series championship and TENvitational, and become also the first angler to take home both the Rogue Gear Co AOY and ROY trophies.
When asked of his plans for next year, Hammond said “I’ve got my eyes on the KBF and Bassmaster tournaments on Lake Murray, because that [KBF at Murray] was my worst event of the season. And I’m already getting ready and watching videos for the  KBF National Championship.”
Wyatt Hammond is sponsored by Humminbird and is a member of the Old Town Regional Fishing team. Follow his Youtube channel at WHAMFishing.
The KBF Trail Series Championship, TENvitational and Challenge Series Championship were hosted by Go2Hunstville, AL on October 19-20, 2023.
For complete standings, click here: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/qn93uabFJOFzwtIqhZ0g
About the KBF Trail: The Realtree Fishing KBF Trail powered by Dakota Lithium is a 5-fish, Catch-Photo-Release, members-only tournament series. Become a KBF member today and get ready for the 2024 season!
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First Published October 24, 2023. The author of this article was not assisted in any way by AI or machine learning in the composition of it.
A portion of this article also appeared in the Day One Recap, on October 19, 2023.
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